Uvalde school police chief’s swearing-in ceremony to city council delayed after shooting

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Pete Arredondo, the Uvalde School District Police Chief who authorities say made the ‘wrong decision’ not to immediately confront an active shooter at Robb Elementary last week, was to be sworn in as a new member of the city council on Tuesday, but that ceremony has been temporarily canceled, according to Mayor Dan McLaughlin.

McLaughlin said Arredondo, who became the Uvalde School District Police Chief in March 2020 and was elected to the Uvalde District 3 Council seat on May 7, can still be sworn into office when the City Council meeting will finally take place.

“On Tuesday, our focus is on our families who have lost loved ones. We begin burying our children tomorrow, the innocent victims of last week’s murders at Robb Elementary School. The special town council meeting will not have take place as planned,” McLaughlin said in a statement. statement on Monday.

“There is nothing in the city charter, election code, or Texas constitution that prohibits him from taking an oath…To our knowledge, we are not currently aware of any investigation of Mr. Arredondo. ”

Uvalde School Police Chief Pete Arredondo, third from left, stands during a press conference outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Thursday, 26 May 2022.
(AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

Shooting suspect Salvador Ramos, 18, ran over a truck near the school at 11:28 a.m. Tuesday, then began shooting into the school before entering through an ajar gate minutes later.

Law enforcement from multiple agencies responded to the scene, and Arredondo assumed the role of incident commander, according to Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw.

As 19 officers gathered in the hallway, McCraw said Arredondo believed the situation had gone from active shooter to barricaded subject, and they had had time to wait for tactical gear and keys. to unlock the classroom door.

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“He was convinced at the time that there was no longer a threat to the children and that the subject was barricaded and they had time to organize themselves,” McCraw said on Friday.

“Obviously, based on the information we have, there were kids in that class who were still at risk. Looking back, where I’m sitting now, of course, that wasn’t the right decision. It was the wrong decision. Period.”

Children run to safety after escaping from a window during a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School where a gunman killed nineteen children and two adults in Uvalde, Texas, USA, May 24, 2022.

Children run to safety after escaping from a window during a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School where a gunman killed nineteen children and two adults in Uvalde, Texas, USA, May 24, 2022.
(Pete Luna/Uvalde Leader-News/Handout via REUTERS)

Ramos is charged with murdering 19 children and two adults before a Border Patrol team entered the classroom he was in and killed him more than an hour after the shooting began.

Arredondo became the police chief of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District in March 2020 and was elected to the Uvalde District 3 Council seat on May 7, according to Uvalde Leader News.

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CISD Uvalde Police Department held active shooter training at Uvalde High School, where Ramos was a student, on March 21, just two months before the shooting at Robb Elementary School.

A course guide for the active shooter training program states that “the student will be able to compare/contrast an active shooter event and a hostage or barricade crisis”.

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“A simple barricade crisis develops when one or more armed actors isolate themselves with little or no ability to harm other innocent people. Barricaded subjects pose the greatest threat when attempts are made to enter the space and master them,” the course guide says.

The city manager of Uvalde told NBC News that the meeting to swear in Arredondo as a member of the city council on Tuesday “did not take place”.

Arredondo could not immediately be reached for comment on Monday.

The Department of Justice announced on Sunday that it would conduct a review of the police response to the shooting at the request of Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin.

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“The purpose of the review is to provide an independent account of law enforcement actions and responses that day, and to identify lessons learned and best practices to help first responders prepare. and to respond to active shooting events,” DOJ spokesperson Anthony Coley said in a statement.

Fox News’ Adam Sabes contributed to this report.

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